Can those lawmakers be pinned down?-A A +A
Friday, September 13, 2013
BENHUR LUY, the whistleblower in the P10 billion pork barrel scam involving some lawmakers, gave a credible and straightforward testimony before the Senate blue ribbon committee last Thursday. He gave details on how the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of some lawmakers went into dubious non-government organizations (NGOs) set up by the scam mastermind, Janet Lim-Napoles.
Committee chairman Teofisto “TG” Guingona III described Luy as a “very credible and believable witness.” That is also the way I sized him up while watching the hearing on television. He knew the modus operandi of Napoles because he was in her inner circle and one of her trusted people. They are relatives.
Napoles even asked Luy to withdraw a huge amount in the bank that represented the lawmakers’ share in the pork barrel scam.
I think Luy did not make stories just to get back at Napoles, who allegedly detained him for several months. He was able to produce Napoles’s bank accounts and detailed the entire transactions. Napoles is detained at Fort Sto. Domingo in Laguna in connection with the serious illegal detention case filed by Luy.
Luy said that some lawmakers would approach Napoles and “sell” part of their PDAF to her. They came to know the scheme through referrals by other lawmakers and by word of mouth. Sometimes Napoles would also approach lawmakers and convince them to join the scheme.
Sus, unsa na lang gyod kabaga og nawong ning uban natong magbabalaod.
Lawmakers demanded 40 to 50 per cent share from their pork barrel funds once the statement of allocation release order (Saro) was released by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM). Even a mere verbal agreement allowed lawmakers to get an advance from their 50 percent share from Napoles.
Also making money from the deal were officials of implementing agencies involved in the transactions. Sometimes, products like farm inputs and implements were delivered to supposed beneficiaries but almost all transactions that were coursed through Napoles’s NGOs involved ghost projects. I think Napoles also had contacts with the DBM because it was easy for her to secure the release of the lawmakers' Saro.
Luy refused to name the senators and congressmen involved in the scam. He merely referred to them as “sexy,” “pogi” and “tanda” so as not to pre-empt the filing of charges against them by the Department of Justice next week.
There are speculations that “sexy” is Sen. Jinggoy Estrada (he was overweight before but has since slimmed). “Pogi” is supposedly Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. while “tanda” is Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile. The names of the three already cropped up in reports and they might be among those to be charged for the scam.
But the question is, can they be pinned down? They can be charged and prosecuted, but will they be sent to jail? This is a long legal process, and I am afraid that once President Noynoy Aquino is out of office, all efforts to prosecute them would be “gone with the wind.”
The Marcoses, especially Imelda Marcos and the cronies, were slapped with several graft and corruption charges after they were booted out from power. But look where they are now. Back in power.
Deposed president Joseph Estrada's case was different. His successor, Gloria Madapagal Arroyo, was still in power when he was convicted with plunder. After he was pardoned, Erap is back in power as mayor of Manila City.
I also doubt if Arroyo will be sent to jail once PNoy bows out of Malacañang.
At least nalipay tang natribukar ning tanan kay posibleng mahunong na ni. Pero kun moingon tang mangapriso ning mga kanahan nga nahilambigit niini, di pa ta makasiguro.
Aw, kana si Napoles siguradong ma-chokolated (masekwati) gyud na. Pero kining mga senador, nagduda pa ko.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 14, 2013.